Mechanosensitivity of a rapid bioluminescence reporter system assessed by atomic force microscopy

TitleMechanosensitivity of a rapid bioluminescence reporter system assessed by atomic force microscopy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsTesson B, Latz M.I
JournalBiophysical Journal
Date Published2015/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0006-3495
Accession NumberWOS:000351774800008
Keywordsalgal; bioluminescence; dinoflagellate lingulodinium-polyedrum; endothelial-cells; fluid shear-stress; gonyaulax-polyedra; living cells; mechanical-properties; pyrocystis-lunula; stimulated bioluminescence; trichocyst ultrastructure

Cells are sophisticated integrators of mechanical stimuli that lead to physiological, biochemical, and genetic responses. The bioluminescence of dinoflagellates, alveolate protists that use light emission for predator defense, serves as a rapid noninvasive whole-cell reporter of mechanosensitivity. In this study, we used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to explore the relationship between cell mechanical properties and mechanosensitivity in live cells of the dinoflagellate Pyrocystis lunula. Cell stiffness was 0.56 MPa, consistent with cells possessing a cell wall. Cell response depended on both the magnitude and velocity of the applied force. At the maximum stimulation velocity of 390 mu m s(-1), the threshold response occurred at a force of 7.2 mu N, resulting in a contact time of 6.1 ms and indentation of 2.1 mu m. Cells did not respond to a low stimulation velocity of 20 mu m s(-1), indicating a velocity dependent response that, based on stress relaxation experiments, was explained by the cell viscoelastic properties. This study demonstrates the use of AFM to study mechanosensitivity in a cell system that responds at fast timescales, and provides insights into how viscoelastic properties affect mechanosensitivity. It also provides a comparison with previous studies using hydrodynamic stimulation, showing the discrepancy in cell response between direct compressive forces using AFM and those within flow fields based on average flow properties.

Short TitleBiophys. J.
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